Plastic sheeting on power lines delays trains

Network Rail engineers consider the best way to get plastic sheeting down from the train's pantograph.

Plastic sheeting blown onto railway lines stopped trains in Birmingham on Wednesday 10 March after it got tangled up in overhead power lines.

Over a three-hour period, a total of 16 trains were delayed on the Cross City line between Birmingham New Street and Lichfield while Network Rail staff untangled the plastic and removed it from the overhead lines.

Businesses and homeowners in the Duddeston and Gravelly Hill area of Birmingham were being urged to secure their outdoor possessions as strong winds swept the area.

With the power switched off, a long insulated pole is often the best way to remove objects blown into overhead wires.

Martin Colmey, operations director for Network Rail’s Central route, said: “Strong winds and unsecured items next to the railway are not a good mix. We see too many incidents where sheeting, gazebos, garden furniture and even trampolines end up on the railway.

“If you live or work near the railway, please secure anything which could blow onto the network and help us keep the railway open for the people who rely on it to travel around the West Midlands.”

Jonny Wiseman, customer experience director for West Midlands Railway, said: “Items caught in the overhead wires cause unnecessary delays for passengers and can have a significant knock-on impact lasting several hours.

“With further high winds forecast in coming days, I urge everybody to secure their property so we can keep our railway open for people making essential journeys.”

Even unsecured trampolines can be blown out of gardens onto the railway.

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